Deep Cuts: Kavinsky

I’m here to talk to you about the video for Kavinsky’s single “Odd Look,” but I feel like I need to drop a little Kavinsky history lesson on yo ass for you to understand it.

You probably know him best for providing the fresh electro intro to the Drive soundtrack with “Nightcall,” but what you may or may not know are the history and story behind the producer and the character he’s named after. To start, he’s French. When I think of good electro-pop, I think of France. Air, Daft Punk, Uffie, Justice, Yelle. They’re good at what they do, and they all came from France. He went to high school with Mr. Oizo, who gave him his first computer. He tried being an actor, but decided that he really wanted to compose and produce music. He produced a few songs, and then showed off what he had to his connections in the film and music industry. The rest is history.

The flesh and bone human man behind Kavinsky has an interesting history, but the alter-ego he developed for himself as a producer has a back story that’s surreal. The story goes that Kavinsky was driving a fresh Ferrari Testarossa back in ’86 when he crashed and died. He came back twenty years later, as a zombie, to produce electronic music. Each of the songs he produces explains the who and what of Kavinsky, now and back then.

I love that he developed this narrative for Kavinsky (the alter-ego) and produces his music as if it was already set in a film. Each of his tracks is perfect soundtrack music for an 80s B-movie. They fit like Lagerfeld style leather gloves with studs in them. Throw in a varsity letter jacket and the illest model Ferrari ever made, and you have the recipe for any movie I’m interested in watching. Pair all of that with music reminiscent of classic Miami Vice type shit (think Knight Rider meets Friday the Thirteenth V), and you want to be Kavinsky… except alive.

The “Testarossa Autodrive” video was the start of this narrative. This animated short shows the wreckage, accident scene, death and rising of both him and his Testarossa.

“Dead Cruiser” continues in the animated style, but now he’s out there and on the road, not just being a crazed zombie eating peoples brains but doing good like scaring off bad liquor store robbers. It’s not until you see the ghostly image of his girlfriend walking around the abandoned high school that you find out that he still has a heart and a purpose. He hightails it outta dodge with a cop on his tail because, well, he can.

“Protovision” continues the story, except now it’s in live action form. He’s flying around in a real Testarossa, fishtailing like a mahfahkah with the cop chasing him, but he ain’t sweating it. It This video reminds me of those crazy dashboard cam videos that describing the ghost car in New York where dude supposedly gets away from the cops by driving through a fence. Kavinsky changes it up on this cop and pulls a 187 on the po-po in the end. Well done my red-eyed thriller looking friend. You are now a wanted fugitive. “Whatever,” he says. “I’m a zombie.”

The finish (for now!) comes with the biggest budget video for “Odd Look.” Classic scenario: Couple of goons overstaying their welcome at a roadside diner, and getting fresh with the cute little waitress. Kavinsky comes in, busts some heads, saves the day and gets the girl. He rides off into the night with the unconscious girl. As she comes to, she realizes the zombie ghost that just saved her is her dead boyfriend.

All of these tracks were released as singles, but it wasn’t until his debut studio album Outrun came out that everything got stitched together. The story is complete for now, but he’ll be back for sure. Either that, or Milla Jovavich will be really disappointed. We can’t imagine anyone with a supernatural alter-ego disappointing someone so good at killing supernatural things.

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